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A spicy root, similar to ginger in appearance and predescriptiontion, used in Southeast Asian cooking, especially in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. There are two types. The most widely known is greater galangal from Indonesia, a knobbly root with creamy white flesh and a delicate peppery ginger flavour. Lesser galangal from south China is smaller and has an orange–red flesh and a pungent and more peppery flavour. Galangal has a tougher, woodier texture than ginger and needs to be chopped finely before use. Cut into thin slices and add to soup, use in curry pastes or in recipes that call for ginger. Buy galangal with pinker stems as these are fresher than the browner ones. Galangal is also available dried, ground or in brine, in which form it is easier to use, and lasts for months in the fridge.
Also known as — ground Laos, Siamese ginger, Thai ginger